Lander's Travels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 909 pages of information about Lander's Travels.

After encountering several difficulties, and experiencing some very hair-breadth escapes, Clapperton arrived at Zirmee the capital of Zamfra, a kind of outlawed city, the inhabitants of which are esteemed the greatest rogues in Houssa, and where all the runaway slaves find protection.  He passed also through Kashna or Cassina, the metropolis of a kingdom, which, till the rise of the Fellata power, ruled over all Africa from Bornou to the Niger.  In its present subject and fallen state, the inhabited part does not cover a tenth of the wide circuit enclosed by its walls, yet a considerable trade is still carried on with the Tuaricks, or with caravans coming across the desert by the route of Ghadamis and Suat.  Here Clapperton met with much kindness from Hadgi Ahmet, a powerful and wealthy Arab chief, who even took him into his seraglio, and desired him, out of fifty black damsels to make his choice, a complaisance, nothing resembling which had ever before been shown by a Mussulman.  The Arab was so importunate, and appeared so determined that Clapperton should have one of his ladies, that to satisfy him, he at length selected the oldest of the groupe, who made him an excellent nurse in his illness.

Lieutenant Clapperton rejoined Major Denham at Kouka, whence they set out, and crossed the desert in the latter part of 1824.  They reached Tripoli in January 1825, and soon after embarked for Leghorn, but being detained by contrary winds and quarantine regulations, did not reach London until the following June.

CHAPTER XXV.

Having now completed our preparatory analysis of the principal travels for the exploration of the interior of Africa, we proceed to enter upon those in which Richard Lander was remotely or closely connected, as the coadjutor or the principal, and to whose perseverance and undaunted courage, we are indebted for some of the most important information respecting the interior of Africa, particularly in the solution of the great geographical problem of the termination of the Niger.  At the time when Lander was ransomed by Captain Laing, of the Maria of London, belonging to Messrs. Forster and Smith, the papers, which he had with him respecting the travels which he had performed, as the servant of Captain Clapperton, who had been promoted on his return from his first expedition, were not very voluminous.  In our personal intercourse with him, however, he unreservedly dictated to us many interesting particulars respecting his travels, whilst in the service of Captain Clapperton, which are not to be found in his published narrative, and particularly of the occurrences which took place at Whidah, in the kingdom of Dahomey, on their passage through that territory, in fulfilment of the object of their mission to sultan Bello of Sockatoo.

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